An interview with Salvación drummer and founder Carlos Denogean

Conquistadors from U.S. shores set out to spread their gospel of heavy metal to the masses....


Interview by: Chris Martin


MGM: Tells us how the band came to be?

Carlos Denogean : The band was formed by myself, in 2009. My father exposed me to classic heavy metal at a young age and I more or less grew up riding around in a Firebird with Judas Priest blaring. I started playing drums at 15 and after about 5 years of cutting my teeth in various projects I decided it was time to form my own band that played the kind of music I wanted to hear.

MGM: In those early days of 2009 did it feel like you had put together something special?

C. Denogean: It’s not easy having influence or input in a band when you’re a drummer. I spent my formative years playing at the mercy of whatever bands I could join. Albeit they were all along the lines of “metal” I always knew I wanted to play in a more traditional vein. So I formed Salvación to do just that. I definitely did feel it was going to be something special because it was formed with a distinct purpose and vision.

MGM: Salvación clearly means Salvation. How did you come to that band name and what does it mean to you?

C. Denogean: The epiphany moment came on a 12 hour road trip to Ft Luaderdale to see Iron Maiden. I heard the word “Salvation” in the car and immediately had visions of conquistadors conquering in the name of Heavy Metal so I decided to use the name but in Spanish. We get asked a lot if the name is religious, and the answer is yes! Rock N’ Roll and Heavy Metal is our religion and we’re here to spread the word!

MGM: There seems to be and ongoing theme of Spanish imagery such as Spanish ships, conquistadors, and such in both the artwork and videos. This is a rather unique idea. Can you explain to the readers where this idea came from? And will it continue to be a presents?

C. Denogean: The idea spawned from the name of the band, it was a logical and “cool” visual association to me perfect for a metal band, but After using the imagery however I became more and more fascinated with the history of the conquistadors and begun to heavily research the matter. I started to draw parallels of embarking on a quest on blind faith and being put up against seemingly insurmountable odds. Also being of Hispanic descent I began to feel a deeper connection to my heritage as well.


MGM: Your new album, ‘Way More Unstoppable’ REDUX, is actually a reworking and re-mastering of your second album. I’d never heard of Salvación prior to this release from Heaven and Hell Records. It’s a fantastic album. Why did you choose this album to reissue?

C. Denogean: I’ve always been immensely proud of the songs on this record but I’ve always known it wasn’t the record it should’ve been. Long story short, and seemingly out of divine providence, vocalist Elliot Madre joins the band and we have a singer that actually sounds like what was initially envisioned for the band. The first order of business then was to introduce him to our audience. It was a perfect opportunity to expose him and to go back back and try fix some of the shortcomings with the production while we work on new material.

MGM: Heaven and Hell Records has been behind some of the best new tradition heavy metal bands coming out of the U.S, how did the deal with them come about?

C. Denogean: Ironically enough Heaven and Hell actually offered to put out our first record, after seeing us open for Elliot’s previous band. It didn’t come together then but we stayed in contact. When Elliot joined the band things finally came to fruition and it was an ideal opportunity to work together.

MGM: Why did you decide to change the vocals? Where did you find new vocalist Elliot Madre?

C. Denogean: The original singer who also played guitar left very abruptly seemingly out of nowhere and without reason. What could’ve easily been the end for some bands turned into a blessing however. Elliot has been a long time fan and supporter of the band. We’ve played many shows with his previous band, Praetorious. And He was an obvious first choice.

MGM: How has the reception been for the album?

C. Denogean: Being a true fan of heavy metal I know re-releases/ re-recordings are generally frowned upon and understandably so. There was even some trepidation within the band initially as well. The reception however has been great. For majority of people this is their first exposure to the songs anyways. The original’s are still available if people want to make comparisons but to us this is what the songs were meant to sound like.


MGM: Where did the idea to cover the Corbin Bleu song ‘Push It to the Limit’ come about? This by the way is a great cover.

C. Denogean: The song is originally from the movie “Scarface” with Al Pacino. It is one of my favorite movies of all time and have always thought the song would make a killer metal tune. The lyrics have always reminded me of Judas Priest’s hit “Another Thing coming” and It just fit so perfectly with our established latino themes. I can definitely identify with main character, Tony Montana in some aspects as well.

MGM: Are there any plans to re-work your other past albums?

C. Denogean: Right now the priority is releasing new material with our current and strongest lineup which features myself on drums Elliot Madre on vocals, Dan Todd and Reid Rogers on Lead guitar and Victor Marriott on bass. Everyone has something to bring to the table and I am particularly excited to hear what Reid, the newest member, has been coming with. I do have plans of revisiting the other records eventually, particularly our 3rd which is the album I personally most proud of artistically.

MGM: The music has a very old school metal feel to it. Why is it important, as a band, to keep alive that style of metal in this day and age?

C. Denogean: To me classic rock and heavy metal is all about crafting strong, memorable songs with an easily identifiable and relate able purpose. I like all forms of Heavy Metal but speed, heaviness, technicality and musicianship can easily become more important to some then the actual songs themselves. It’s important for me to play in this style because I cherish it and hope to potentially expose people to the classic bands that to influence and inspire me.

MGM: Do you worry that the old school sound could possibly pigeon hole Salvación?

C. Denogean: I don’t believe so. We can always improve upon our craft and remain comfortably within what we set out to do. There are more themes to explore and more nuances to exploit within our genre. We are along way from being out of ideas.

MGM: Has there been any backlash so far? I ask because many times critics and metal elitists can be very hard on bands that wear their influences openly.

C. Denogean: When Salvación formed it really didn’t seem like there were a lot of bands doing what we were trying to do. Now globally I think there has been a massive resurgence of classic heavy metal. Which I am definitely stoked on. It’s possible there are bands hoping on the bandwagon or whatever but I know what our intentions are and the guys in my band are heavy metal “lifers” We were all listening to DIO era Sabbath at the height of “nu-metal” popularity so I’m not concerned if people don’t get what we’re trying to do. I believe in what we’re doing and hopefully we can turn some people on to some good music..

MGM: I have to say that the artist Yannick Bouchard that does your covers is fantastic. He is like Salvación’s own Derrick Riggs. How did you find him?

C. Denogean: I found discovered Yannick on an art Forum called Deviant Art. He had posted some incredible interpretations of “Eddie” and “King Diamond” I knew immediately this would be the guy so I contacted him. He had never been commissioned by a band at that point but now he actually does work for King Diamond himself among many other notable acts. He has been great to work with and really has helped my creative visions come to reality.

MGM: The band recently played in Chicago at Ragnarokkr Metal Apocalypse Festival back in May; how was that experience and were you well received?

C. Denogean: Yes, Ragnarokkr was incredible to not only perform at but attend as a fan as well. I do believe we had a very strong reception and it was a blast overall.

MGM: Later this year the band will be heading to California to play at Frost & Fire Fest, are there any tour plans or other festival dates though 2016?

C. Denogean: Yes, I am actually putting together my own Traditional Metal fest here in our home town of Wilmington NC on Labor Day weekend. The fest is called “Thou Shall Rock” and features my favorite bands from the region who play classic rock and metal. I am very excited and hope to see it grow into an annual event much like Ragnarokkr and Frost and Fire

MGM: How do you see the future of more traditional styles of heavy metal.

C. Denogean: Right now I see the style thriving with more bands and festivals continually popping up. I hope the trend continues but we plan on fighting the good fight even if it doesn’t.

MGM: Any plans for new music from Salvación? What does the future hold for the band?

C. Denogean: We plan to continue supporting “Way More Unstoppable Redux” this year at our shows and festival appearances and we will also be releasing a 4 song EP this summer entitled “Keep Up The Fire” that features all new songs. We are currently writing new material for a full length that we hope to begin recording soon and hope to make it to Europe for the first time next year.

MGM: It has been a pleasure conducting this interview with you. Salvación is hands down one of the best up and coming bands on the scene currently. Is there anything else you would like to add or plug before we sign off?

C. Denogean: Thanks for your interest and support for not only us but for Heavy Metal in general! Rock Hard and Ride Free!

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Photo Credit: Ange Cobham

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